Dennis Lehane’s books that were adapted to the big screen

In Hollywood, Stephen King is generally the author who is the king (sorry) of adaptation. Indeed, countless works of King’s have been adapted to both movies and TV shows; it’s fair to say he’s the master, especially of horror. But, in recent years we have seen a new kid on the block, so to speak. While King will always be revered, and his works continue to be important, Dennis Lehane is another author who is enjoying this success too.

Bostonian Lehane has been writing since he was young, and has written more than a dozen novels. Many of Lehane’s stories are based in Boston, and he has developed a successful working relationship with actor-director Ben Affleck. Lehane has also worked as a screenwriter, penning scripts for The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. Let’s take a look at Lehane’s best books that were adapted to movies.

Mystic River

Stunning Academy Award-winning drama Mystic River revolves around 3 boys growing up in difficulty in Boston who are reunited 25 years later when tragedy strikes. The movie is one of the best and most acclaimed of Lehane’s adaptations, and the novel itself was his first standalone work. The novel was published in 2001, and the movie came out a few years later. Directed by Clint Eastwood, and featuring an all-star cast, Mystic River is a masterpiece of crime-mystery, and the novel has been acclaimed as one of the best ever written.

Dennis Lehane’s books that were adapted to the big screen

Gone, Baby, Gone

This detective novel is one of Lehane’s best and follows private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro as they investigate the case of an abducted girl in crime-filled Boston. The novel looks at the concepts of community, and family, as well as corruption within the police force. The novel was adapted for the big screen in 2007, and was directed by Ben Affleck – this marked Lehane’s first working relationship with Affleck; the movie went onto have strong critical success.

The Drop

Another of Lehane’s works to have been adapted into a movie is the novel The Drop. This is a classic crime story that was adapted from Lehane’s short story Animal Rescue. Lehane also wrote the screenplay for the film and then adapted it into a novelized form as well. The story follows a robbery gone awry, and people who will do whatever it takes to get by. The movie was released in 2014 and was James Gandolfini’s last film. You should also watch it because it stars Tom Hardy!

Shutter Island

Perhaps the best-known novel Lehane has penned, aside from Mystic River, is the neo-noir psychological thriller Shutter Island. The movie follows federal marshall Teddy Daniels as he investigates why a patient is missing from Shutter Island, specifically Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. The novel was adapted for the big screen for a 2010 movie of the same name directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Lehane served as an executive producer on the film.

Dennis Lehane’s books that were adapted to the big screen


These are some of the great adaptations of Lehane’s work that have made their way to the big screen. There is another novel called live By Night, which was also recently adapted by Ben Affleck, and it’s likely we’ll see more of his stuff turned into movies in the future. One thing’s for sure, this guy certainly has a talent, and Hollywood seems impressed.